• Michael Samuel University of KwaZulu-Natal


Alternative conceptions of educational leadership that challenge the performativity culture do not appear substantively to alter the trajectory of practitioner’s everyday choices. This article uses as data the responses from three different audiences to a presentation on such alternative conceptions. The three groups were academics attending an educational leadership conference, circuit managers as part of a post-project workshop, and a group of aspirant school rectors in a training diploma programme. The first two groups were South African and the third a Mauritian audience. The audience responses show how they subverted, re-interpreted and jettisoned the message of the presentation. Three vignettes constitute the analysis of the audiences’ foregrounding of the lived complexities of making alternative leadership choices. The article suggests we need to be aware of how and why practitioners will choose or not to become alternative proponents of the dominant discourses around ‘educational quality’.


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